Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Routine vs. Discipline

While catching up on a bit blog reading today, I noticed an exchange concerning routine vs. discipline. It reminded me of how much my husband depended on maintaining his daily routine to remind him of healthier days during his chemo/radiation treatment months. Each activity meant something, gave the day an outline to follow with broad headings, allowing the actual events and details of the day to provide variety. He said it gave him hope.

My own experience has shown me that the quality of everything we do depends on intention and attention, so routine will be as mindless and boring as we allow, just as discipline can become constricting if enforced robotically. Routine structures the activities, and we use discipline to do them as daily practice. HOW we do depends on attitude.

There is also the aspect of routine which carries us through a dark period like a beacon precisely because of its repetitive nature. All the various diciplines encourage us to develop a routine that will lead us to the flow of creative inspiration--working in a selected space, doing the warmups, putting in the time (however short or seemingly fruitless) and closing with hints for the next days practice...a new starting point built on this days work. Every day.

Routine and discipline walk hand in hand, like little schoolchildren-- either controlled and bored, fearful of punishment or smiling and skipping ready to discover the days new lessons. Boring or exciting--same energy, different approach. Shrieks of delight, furrowed brows, deep sighs--it's all part of the show.


Jane Ann said...

Interesting thoughts, Olenka. I have been very ill a few times in my life and I had days when all I wanted was boredom, normal everyday routine. That way, I would know that life as I knew it was going on as before (not that my life bores me--I mean just the ordinary business of living.) After those experiences, I fully understand terminally ill peope who continue going to work each day, reading the paper, shopping for groceries, rather than take a trip around the world. That's what life is, those bits and pieces of our routine, and to give it up is to stop living the life we know.

Jules said...

When interviewing for a teaching job at a Catholic High School, I was asked to define discipline. I answered something like, "Discipline is what we have in ourselves to make our lives function." The interviewer's jaw dropped. He said that was the answer he had in his mind and I was the only person ever to give it. Most people talked about disciplining the students. I didn't get the job, but I did get one answer right.

I am looking forward to getting to know you better Olenka.

jenclair said...

I enjoyed this entry because I'm so divided about this myself. I love/ hate routine. Love the ritual or routine of coffee, relaxation, computer in the morning. Love the way routine adds structure to a day (if one's rituals are pleasant), but resent rigid structuring. I want my routines to be flexible, to be either things I enjoy or ways to get through those things I don't enjoy as efficiently and as quickly as possible. You put it all so succinctly and added that Attitude influences every thing.

cathy said...

very interesting post-Routine vs. Discipline . Routines can provide structure and comfort however, they can also be suffocating if we have outgrown them (such as a job that no longer provides a challenge. Disipline is sometimes needed in order to continue a routine which in itself may be boring or no longer challenging but provides the means to progress.(Jules stated it much better) Many athletes use routines in order to succeed in their sport. I need a routine in order to avoid feeling like I'm being tossed in the wind but I need to mix things up enough so I don't feel stiffled.

Debra Spincic said...

Wonderful insights that speak well of the daily life we chose to live. My thoughts are with you as you continue your daily life without your husband. I am sure you have had to make changes to that life too--ones you didn't want to make.

Pat/SWquilter said...

We haven't heard from you in awhile in blogland - just wondering if everything is going well for you?!